University carries fall COVID-19 campus policies into spring semester, expands testing capacity

(Illustration by Abigail Comptom | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State remains steadfast in the policies it introduced during the fall semester to curb the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

Thomas Lane, vice president of student life and dean of students, said in terms of policies, the university is staying with what it knows works. Administration also wants to encourage community members to engage in disease mitigating behaviors, Lane said.

“So, wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding large indoor gatherings, monitoring symptoms, not coming to campus if you’re experiencing COVID-like symptoms,” Lane said. “All those are really important and so we’ll continue to promote our Every Wildcat a Wellcat campaign through Lafene.”

Indoor dining in dining centers is available this semester,

The dining centers will see indoor dining this semester, a change from the fall, Lane said. Seating is limited to four people per table.

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K-State will continue to take an educational approach to enforce the policies, Lane said, which means they expect and encourage campus community members to demonstrate responsibility.

“Now, if we are made aware of students who, for example, violated a mask policy, there’ll be a conversation that will occur through the Office of Student Life with typically an assistant dean … and we will reiterate the policy and why it’s important. And if we see continued violations of the policy, then we’ll follow up as appropriate to the student code of conduct,” Lane said.

Certain parameters, such as nationwide COVID-19 spread, Lane said, will guide the university’s decision making in terms of whether or not to revert back to online learning.

“We also take a look at the number of quarantine and isolation spaces that we have available for use,” Lane said. “We take a look at the ICU capacity within our hospital system and how our hospital systems might be — or medical systems within Manhattan — may be stressed.”

Students will hear about any changes via email, K-State Today and the university’s social media accounts, Lane said.

“We’re going to monitor all of the factors that we’ve been monitoring since the start of the pandemic,” Lane said. “And what’s going to guide our decision-making is the health and safety of our campus. That’s going to be first and foremost in our thinking.”

Students should look at K-State’s website or reach out to Lafene Health Center for any concerns related to the pandemic.

Lane said one of the biggest differences between the fall and spring semesters was the introduction of asymptomatic testing. At the start of the fall semester, testing was only available in certain cases. Since then, the availability expanded.

“The major change this semester will be that we are providing remote testing sites on campus four days a week this semester to make access to testing more convenient,” Dr. Kyle Goerl, medical director at Lafene Health Center, said via email. “We begin with testing at Kramer Dining Center on Tuesday. We will still be doing testing daily at Lafene Health Center for both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals.”

Remote testing sites are available Tuesday through Friday.

Hi there! I'm Julie Freijat. I'm the managing editor of the Collegian. In the past, I've served as an editor on the news and culture desks and worked closely with the multimedia staff. I love science and technology, hate poor movie dialogue and my favorite subreddit is r/truecrime.